Types of Degrees

14 June 2024
Posted in Students, Study
14 June 2024 ram-horizon

University is another chapter for school leavers that can be confusing when unsure of the path to take. A good starting point can be the different levels of university degrees available to help you feel confident when making these decisions and making the most of your time at university.

Types of University Degrees

There are up to five types of university degrees, each with different requirements and study periods. Knowing where to start is crucial and may differ depending on your ATAR and the type of course you might be interested in.

Associate Degrees

Associate degree programs are two-year-long programs that focus on general post-secondary education. However, some associate degree programs are designed for students looking to move directly from their associate degree into professional training programs.

Associate degrees are commonly offered at technical schools or community colleges and take no more than two years to complete. If students wish to gain an entry-level position in a wide range of jobs, such as air traffic control, police, nursing, or graphic design, this is a great degree option to consider because it provides adequate training.

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Transferable associate degrees are available for students who wish to continue their university education once they complete covering the foundation educational requirements. Students’ most common associated degrees are Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. But there are others as well.

Associate of Arts and Associate of Science

The AA and AS programs are designed for students to use as a precursor to a bachelor’s degree program. Students can choose their preferred program based on their high school subject combinations.

Associate of General Studies

An AGS may be acquired by a student unsure of their intended career path. Like an AA or an AS, it can be applied to gain entry to a bachelor’s program or brought directly into a workplace to demonstrate general academic knowledge.

Associated of Business Administration

Also called an ABA, this can be used as a student’s introduction to the academic study of business. Students with an ABA can get a head start on their business-related Bachelor’s program.

Associate Degree in Nursing

An Associate Degree in Nursing, or an AND, can be used as an admission credential for students interested in enrolling in nursing school. The ADN can typically replace a bachelor’s degree in pre-med for a nurse.

Bachelor’s Degrees

The second level of university is a Bachelor’s degree. This level requires students to have a high-school-level certificate to apply. It is the most commonly chosen undergraduate program for school leavers, often requiring three to four years to complete.

Students completing this type of degree can select one or two areas to major in. Common choices include finance, biology, and communication.

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Once students graduate, they have the qualifications to work in entry-level and often management-level positions. Students may also choose to continue their studies in other graduate programs.

Common examples of Bachelor’s degrees include:

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

The BA and BS are the most common Bachelor’s degrees offered in most universities. The distinction between both courses may differ, but typically, the BA involves majors that focus on liberal arts, whereas the BS covers majors that are more technical or engineering-based. Usually, Bachelor’s degree majors fall into one of these two categories.

Bachelor of General Studies

A BGS, as it is also called, is offered to students who complete their four years of Bachelor’s education in a program with courses tailored to their various skills and interests but still meet the general requirements of college completion.

Bachelor of Library Science

This is a specialised bachelor’s degree most often earned by students pursuing a master’s degree in library science.

Bachelor of Business Administration

A BBA is a foundational business bachelor’s degree program that is a strong way to start a career in business administration. Students graduating with a BBA may immediately begin their careers or continue their education and seek a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS)

It is most commonly earned by students chasing a dream in the medical world, particularly a medical doctor. It is the most common degree in pre-med courses. Students wishing to become nurses may also earn a BHS degree before attending nursing school.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

This is a degree awarded to students seeking education in various arts fields, including visual and performing arts, often with a specific concentration like ballet or photography. Students can proceed to school to achieve a Master of Fine Arts.

Master’s Degrees

The Master’s Degree is the third level of university degree. The graduate program allows students to specialise in a chosen area of study, which often involves developing a thesis or undertaking major projects. A master’s degree requires students to complete an additional 1-2 years of study and will often involve some pre-requisites for the student to be eligible to apply for the program.

These can include completing an undergraduate degree and achieving a threshold grade point average and may even require students to sit an admission exam. Successful Master’s graduates have qualifications to work in advanced jobs in executive positions. A common example of a Master’s degree is a Master of Science. Other include:

Master of Library Science

MLS is a specialised master’s degree for students who wish to pursue document preservation or library science as a career.

Master of Arts and Master of Science

These have a similar structure to their respective Bachelor’s degrees, with topics that would typically be covered in BA and also covered in MA. The topics that would typically be covered in BS are also covered by MS.

Master of Information System Management

An MIS is a master’s program for students with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a business-related field. The program provides the students with the tools they need to work in technology.

Master of Business Administration

An MBA is a high-level business administration degree. Students with an MBA can seek to begin a career in business in a higher-level position with a much deeper understanding of business principles and practical business strategies.

Master of Health Science

The MHS degree is the final program a medical student needs to complete before being eligible to enrol in a medical school’s professional degree program.

Master of Fine Arts

MFAs are specialised and designed for performance over academic curriculum. Students must be able to display artistic abilities in a practical way, such as performing for audiences or scheduling art openings for themselves. Often, these degrees will include coursework in art management.

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree is the most advanced degree. It is commonly referred to as the Ph.D. Students must have a bachelor’s degree and, in some cases, a master’s alongside other entry requirements such as sitting standardised tests and letters of recommendation.

Doctoral degrees can take several years to complete and involve major research projects. There are differences in the Doctoral degrees depending on the field of study. Those graduating with a PhD will have the qualifications to work as experts in research.

Doctor of Philosophy

This is the most commonly known and recognised doctoral degree. However, these degrees are not conferred to philosophy students despite the name. Instead, the Ph. D. is a research degree that can be completed in several subjects, including science, math, business, social science and the humanities.

Research in this program is focused on enriching and furthering knowledge in a specific field. Original research is often a requirement for graduation in this kind of program. Ph. D. students often work at the outer bounds of their field to uncover new insights and discoveries.

Other types of doctoral degrees focus on practical applications within a specific industry. However, these are depending on the university and the courses it offers. These can include:

  • A doctor of business administration
  • A doctor of health administration
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Management.

Knowing these types of college degrees and their order can help students feel better equipped to plan out their academic future. It can also help them choose the right degree for their career path and if you choose to change careers at some point, it may provide you with information on when best to make the switch and which courses are the best for you.

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